It sounds to be an oxymoron: Gas station food. Gas stations don’t usually qualify as tabernacles of culinary excellence, but this local service station defies that conventional wisdom.
Dining with a Star
The Shell station at the intersection of Routes 1 and 175 in Jessup, MD is the home of R&R Taqueria, a bastion of authentic Mexican food. Featured on television’s Diners, Dives, and Drive-ins, R&R is a huge departure from standard Tex-Mex fare.
Five line cooks, under the direction of Executive Chef Rodrigo Albarran-Torres, scramble to serve an almost constant stream of customers, ranging from suits to work boots, many of them obviously Latino. Open at 5:30 AM to get the breakfast crowd, R&R stays open until 8:30 PM serving a gamut of Mexican dishes and specializing in tacos and giant huaraches, a flattened tortilla topped with steak or chicken, layered on creamy cheese and topped with onions, tomatoes, jalapenos, sauces, and avocado wedges.
“I started working in restaurant to pay my way through pilot’s school,” said Albarran-Torres. “My dad worked at opening restaurants and I started working with him when I was 16.”
After getting furloughed from his commercial pilot’s job, he gave serious consideration to opening his own restaurant. “I had always had the idea of opening a restaurant…We prayed about it…My father knew the man who owned the gas station and he wanted a restaurant. It all came together.”
Be sure to try R&R’s tacos with posole, pork mixed with fresh chopped cilantro and traditional spices. Served with the time-honored red and green salsas, the tacos are crisp, full of flavor, and light a delicious fire on the palate. Along with his father, Albarran-Torres also operates a restaurant in White Marsh Mall.
For recipes and more of Reed Hellman’s signature culinary adventures, visit his Website at www.reedhellmanwordsmith.com. You can follow his monthly columns in Recreation News and read his feature articles in Business Monthly.